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Upasni or Upasani?


Where does the spelling of 'Upasni' come from? In every Shirdi Sai Baba book I've read, the spelling has always been 'Upasani'. Ekantik talk 19:36, 1 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

It is spelled either way. A google search reveals a few more as Upasni Maharaj (1,971 hits) than Upasani Maharaj (731 hits). I went ahead and placed a redirect from Upasani Maharaj so it can be found now under either spelling. Here are some Sai sights that use the "Upasni" spelling. If you do a page search you'll find him spelled that way. [1] [2] Also some books on him have the shorter spelling: [3] AguireTS 01:54, 2 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]
This is no longer true. 'Upasani' is used far more often, in sources and on google. Harold the Sheep (talk) 01:33, 7 July 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Reliable sources


It is extremely unlikely that there will any academically reviewed or other English-language sources on this subject beyond those associated directly with the subject, or by followers of Meher Baba or Sai Baba of Shirdi. That said, however, the sources cited do appear to satisfy the essential criteria referencing found here. I'm specifically mindful of these elements, which apply to self-published sources:

  1. the material used is relevant to the notability of the subject of the article;
  2. it is not unduly self-serving;
  3. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  4. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject;
  5. there is no reason to doubt its authenticity

So I'm removing the "reliable sources" tag, as it suggests that this article is somehow unreliable or dubious. It's about a notable subject, well known in India, interesting to a fairly rarefied bunch of Westerners, and unlikely ever to have more information unless and until WP provides an outlet for Original Research. --nemonoman (talk) 13:54, 20 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Kevin R D Shepherd as a source (2010)


Please see this edit [4] by admin DGG regarding using Kevin R. D. Shepherd as a source. His self-published books are not reliable sources. WikiUserTalk 14:01, 16 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

WikiUserTalk is overstating DGG's comment, and the latter reverted the former's deletion of my previous edit (see here). See also my response to DGG's comment (here). Simon Kidd (talk) 19:19, 16 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Blogs are not reliable sources. Simon Kidd has a history of defending Kevin Shepherd everywhere on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Simon_Kidd Dazedbythebell (talk) 22:14, 16 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for pointing that out dazedbythebell. I also found that Simon Kidd did the same under his anonymous name of the communicator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/The_Communicator WikiUserTalk 05:11, 17 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I have changed the title of this section, as the original title was prejudicial. DGG's final word on this matter [5] clearly states his opinion that Shepherd's books 'are in a number of academic libraries, and I think sufficient to indicate that they are regarded as worth considering' and that books 'are not reliable vs. unreliable - they are of varying degrees of reliability'. This is borne out by Shepherd's case:
1. Rigopoulos and Warren, two of the academic authorities on Shirdi Sai Baba, both acknowledge Shepherd's contribution to the subject.
2. Shepherd also gives these authors their due, but points out that, notwithstanding their academic credentials, they were influenced in their interpretation by their connection with Sathya Sai Baba (although Warren subsequently rejected Sathya Sai Baba); academics are human, and have their own biases, which even editorial checking will not remove.
3. Academics are also prone to errors of fact and omission: as a specific example, the non-academic and self-published Shepherd points out Rigopoulos and Warren's lack of acquaintance with the Kishan Singh diary in their accounts of Upasni (Investigating the Sai Baba Movement: A Clarification of Misrepresented Saints and Opportunism, pp. 221-2 n. 388; see also pp. 185-6, n. 167).
4. Shepherd does not claim to be infallible: in his second book on this subject, he acknowledges and corrects several errors in the earlier book, as is standard scholarly practice.
As for myself, I am not an obsessive promoter of Shepherd, or indeed anyone. I have had a long-standing interest in this author, but have never even met him. I believe that his lack of self-promotion, along with his preference for self-publishing, have led to his neglect in certain areas. My only goal is to improve Wikipedia articles, sometimes by providing information that is not easily available to other editors. In this I will continue to use Shepherd and other authors. Any information I provide will be fully referenced and verifiable by others. I also attempt to improve the writing in articles. The reason that the history of my recent contributions contains so many references to Shepherd, is that I have been forced to defend his (and, by implication, my own) reputation against those who have called these into question.
My edits under my earlier user name show, for example, that I used Stanislav Grof's own books to create a significant new section in the Holotropic Breathwork article (see Reactions and contraindications). Even supporters of Grof pointed out that the original article was embarrassingly promotional.
I trust that WikiUserTalk will now abide by what he said at the RfC (here): 'DGG is a wikipedia administrator, impartial and well versed in wikipedia policy to a much greater extent than Kidd or me. Since no one else has definitively given an opinion, DGG's views are enough to conclude the issue.' I believe that DGG's judgment reveals the implicit application of common sense and, as such, is in keeping with the spirit of the encyclopedia.
Simon Kidd (talk) 03:59, 18 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Don't be so hasty, Simon Kidd. The issue is still being discussed. My comment to DGG is applicable here as well:

  • DGG, then please explain your edit here. The reference to Shepherd is not about himself. Shepherd is not a widely accepted authority on Upasani Baba. Shepherd's views about Upasani Baba are not widely accepted by religious or philosophical scholars. Shepherd is alone in his views about Narasimha. As pointed out before, Ph.D Marianne Warren said in her book "Unravelling The Enigma – Shirdi Sai Baba In The Light Of Sufism" that Kevin Shepherd's views about Narasimha were "highly opinionated", that Shepherd "summarily dismisses Narasimhaswami as an opportunist" and that Shepherd provided no bibliography in his book Gurus Rediscovered [6]. When a Ph.D and a scholar (with academic credentials, which Shepherd does not have) gave this critical and objective view about Kevin Shepherd, how can he be considered a reliable source for the Upasani Baba article?

Yes, references to Shepherd were made. Warren's reference was completely critical. Rigopoulos said that Kevin Shepherd "surprisingly seems to ignore the existance of the latter's (Narasimha) contribution, i.e., the four volumes of the Life of Sai Baba, which he (Shepherd) never mentions".

And your edits do show you being an "obsessive promoter" of Kevin R. D. Shepherd. Even others have pointed that out. I will gladly provide the diffs to prove that point if you want to make an issue of it. And you should clearly divulge your alternate account on your "The Communicator" user page. The template being {{User_Alternate_Acct|Simon Kidd}}. Otherwise, I will file a sockpuppetry claim against you because your edits under that alternate account are highly relevant to your current edits. WikiUserTalk 06:01, 18 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

WikiUserTalk, I note that you accepted DGG's judgment on Shepherd's books [7]. The statements you made on this page, however, still need to be addressed. There are three areas of contention: your comments about Shepherd's reliability as a source; your claim that I am an 'obsessive promoter' of Kevin Shepherd; and your sock-puppet accusation. I will deal with these in reverse order.

This is easily countered, since my use of an alternate account for reasons of family privacy is entirely legitimate [8]. Under my original account, I edited an article that refers to a member of my family (not by name). This article has nothing remotely to do with Shepherd. My changes to the article have been vandalized several times, and I am keeping my old account so that I can continue to edit that article (including repairing the vandalism). As I have pointed out several times, this alternate account use has been given (by email) to ArbCom. It was accepted as legitimate and registered as such. It is not necessary for me to divulge my alternate account on my user page. In fact, to do so would defeat the purpose of having the alternate account for privacy reasons. This is clearly stated in the sock-puppet guidelines [9].

This accusation is based on an interpretation of motives. You are implying that I have some sort of hidden agenda, and you base this on my editing pattern. There are a number of things to be said about this. In the first place, it is an accusation that could (and probably should) be levelled at many of the editors in the NRM area. There are strong indications that editors in this area are sectarian. Unlike most of them, however, I am untypical in editing under my own name, and I clearly state my background and interests on my user page. Second, I have had an interest in topics that Shepherd writes about for over twenty years, before I became familiar with him as a writer. I believe that his interpretation of some of these topics is interesting and worthy of consideration, in spite of his non-academic and self-published status. I make that judgment as someone who has been trained as an academic. Third, I am a philosopher, both by temperament and by training. Philosophers are generally a sceptical bunch, and academic training tends to hone their sensitivity to sloppy reasoning. That makes me a very unlikely candidate as a blind follower of anyone, including Shepherd. I do not agree with everything that Shepherd writes, but I do think that his perspective should be taken into account, especially in the case of Shirdi Sai Baba, Upasni Maharaj, Hazrat Babajan and Meher Baba, all of whom have, in my opinion, been misrepresented by sectarian biographers and followers. The latter opinion is, however, irrelevant to my editing, except as a motive to make the encyclopedia more informative. When I edit, I use NPOV, and fully reference my work so that readers can follow up.

Since others are likely to read what you have said above, I believe it is very important to clarify your misinformation. You have focussed on just a couple of negative statements from Warren and Rigopoulos, and left out their positive ones. You also neglect the fact that both of these writers, although academics, were followers of Sathya Sai Baba, and therefore far from neutral. And you neglect the shortcomings in their own work, which have been revealed by Shepherd. You have also misinterpreted Warren. She does not say that Shepherd provided no bibliography in his 'book', but rather that no bibliography was given with his 'monograph'. The monograph in question is the first half of Gurus Rediscovered (on Shirdi Sai Baba). The second half of the book (on Upasni Maharaj) does have a bibliography. In addition, the Sai Baba part of the book does have seventy-seven fully referenced notes.
It is also worth pointing out (as Shepherd does - see below) that Narasimhaswami's four-volume biography of Shirdi Sai was published by the All India Sai Samaj at Madras, an organization of which Narasimhaswami was the President. I believe this places such work in a very grey area from a 'self-publishing' perspective. The same goes for much of the literature in the NRM field - biographies (often amounting to hagiographies) are frequently published by organizations connected with the subjects of the biographies.
In any case, things have moved on since Warren and Rigopoulos expressed their opinions of Shepherd's earlier book on this topic. Warren later turned against Sathya Sai Baba, and rejected his claim to be a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai. Furthermore, Shepherd has published a new book that largely supersedes Gurus, and which actually addresses the points made by Warren and Rigopoulos. This book (Investigating the Sai Baba Movement) has 480 notes (excluding the appendices), filling 106 pages. Since others will not have immediate access to this book, I think it will be useful to provide some lengthy extracts from it, both to address the points made by Warren and Rigopoulos and to give some indication of Shepherd's thoroughness and reliability as a source.

'Rigopoulos [The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi], p. xxvii, has criticized the present writer for not having mentioned Narasimhaswami's Life in my Gurus Rediscovered. In that book I did indeed express my distrust of Narasimhaswami's hagiographic and Hinduizing tendencies, and did indeed fail to mention one of that writer's influential works, comparatively late in publication by comparison with other sources ... Only Vol. 1 of the Life is actually biographical, and the work as a whole "presents a Hinduized version of Sai Baba's life, overshadowing the Islamic influence and background" (Rigopoulos, Life and Teachings of Sai Baba, p. xxv). Narasimhaswami may be credited with a genuine attempt at serious biography, but some of his major assumptions and theories have been very misleading, and it is arguable that Rigopoulos has fallen prey to some of these. My amateur contribution, not intended as any exhaustive study, was offered as a remedy to the predominant influence of Narasimhaswami's version. Gurus Rediscovered was merely an amplified draft (written mainly in 1978) of an earlier work written in my youth and which was part of a larger unpublished manuscript containing other information about Sai Baba and Upasni Maharaj, in addition to some other saints and gurus. In retrospect, I will concede that it was a failing of mine to omit reference to Narasimhaswami's Life; however, the context of my sparing references to his books should be duly noted. These books have served to distort many events and need not be regarded as definitive. Rigopoulos has evidently borrowed and adapted my cues about the Sufi dimensions in the life of Sai Baba, and briefly acknowledges Gurus as a ground-breaking work. The way I arrived at that perspective was by screening out the camouflage provided by Narasimhaswami. I might add that Rigopoulos neglected to mention several of my own published books relating to events in Maharashtra, including Meher Baba, an Iranian Liberal (Cambridge, 1988), though he specifically included the latter figure in his version of "the Sai Baba Movement".' (Investigating the Sai Baba Movement, p. 166 n. 13)

'The questionable work Devotees' Experiences of Sai Baba was cited in Gurus Rediscovered, p. 79 n. 70. I maintain that it is healthy for amateurs to be deeply sceptical of the contents, contrary to the gullibilities of academic enthusiasts of the "Sai Baba movement". I also noted that Narasimhaswami's Charters and Sayings contained "some interesting material" (Gurus Rediscovered, p. 79 n. 61). It is, however, doubtful if some of the sayings attributed to Sai Baba are accurate, although these are regarded as gospel by enthusiasts. The "Sai Dialogues" are not beyond suspicion of having been moulded by the expectancies and proselytizing aims of the Shirdi revival assisted by Narasimhaswami. Cf. M. Warren, Unravelling The Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Ltd, 1999), pp. 13ff., 353ff., who observes a number of relevant points about the Hindu biases of Narasimhaswami, but who is unwilling to credit certain other criticisms about that commentator relayed by the present writer from the literature on Meher Baba. Dr. Warren's version of some emphases found in my Gurus Rediscovered is distorting, possibly because that work criticized Satya Sai Baba, whom she supports. Her book is unusual for an attempt to evaluate the Sufi background of Shirdi Sai in the face of Hinduization. Cf. the critical remarks in my Pointed Observations (Dorchester, Dorset: Citizen Initiative, 2005), pp. 371ff., note 98. Dr. Warren accuses me of having dismissed Narasimhaswami as "an opportunist, whose only interest was in elevating himself through writing the biographies of holy men" (Warren, op. cit., p. 24 n.38). That is an undue compression of the details. I was relaying remarks of Meher Baba, who strongly criticized the miracle instinct of Narasimhaswami, which also found expression in the latter's biography of Upasni Maharaj. Also, I was pointing out that when Narasimhaswami went to Shirdi in the 1930s, he did not have any mentor to correct the devotional distortions that were occurring, and which he furthered (Gurus Rediscovered, pp. 3-5). "A dead teacher is much easier to follow than a living specimin" (ibid. p. 5). The cover of Dr. Warren's book describes her interest in writing devotional songs honouring Shirdi Sai and Satya Sai, which may explain why she is so amenable to the subject of miracles.' (Investigating the Sai Baba Movement, pp. 167-8 n. 16)

The 'critical remarks' to which Shepherd refers are as follows:

'The books of Narasimhaswami range from his Introduction to Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi (1938) to Life of Sai Baba (4 vols, 1955-56). These and other works were published by the All India Sai Samaj at Madras, an organization of which Narasimhaswami was the President. An academic work strongly influenced by the output of Narasimhaswami was A. Rigopoulos, The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993). This version failed to penetrate the devotional lore involved, and instead misled many readers by elevating Satya Sai Baba as a valid point of reference. The supposedly authoritative perspective of Satya Sai Baba has since been extensively contradicted by the substantial amount of material emerging on the Internet which places the career of that guru in a very negative light. The problems involved in glorifying Satya Sai Baba are legion. That guru's pronouncements on Shirdi Sai Baba can be regarded as fiction of a very objectionable kind. On these matters, see further my Investigating the Sai Baba Movement. Cf. M. Warren, Unravelling the Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Ltd, 1999), which demonstrates an affiliation to the Satya Sai cult, though adopting a contrasting standpoint to Rigopoulos, proffering a Sufi construction instead of the standard Hinduized portrayal. Yet this more innovative work disconcertingly bears a dedication to Satya Sai Baba, being written by an academic supporter of Satya Sai, whose claim (ibid., pp. xviii, 28-9) is elevated without criticism. A relevant component is the formerly neglected Urdu notebook of Shirdi Sai's faqir disciple Abdul Baba (ibid., pp. 261ff.). Yet there are problems of exegesis attendant. In particular, the glorification of Satya Sai Baba (ibid., pp. 366-78) is very misleading. Dr. Warren has not duly integrated available details of the majazib tradition, which is arguably more relevant. She accuses me of having suggested that Shirdi Sai could have been a majzub (ibid., pp. 111-112), here citing Gurus Rediscovered, p. 19. In fact, I made no such suggestion in the terms which she imposes, as my references were to the variegated majazib tradition of the Deccan, and not to a state of consciousness of the type simplistically dwelt upon by persons confusing the terminology of Meher Baba with research references supplied by Professor Eaton. The acute lack of context given to my "suggestion" is some indication of the extent of academic negligence in this field (which has been the almost exclusive preserve of cultic interests). In Gurus Rediscovered, I did actually state Meher Baba's version of Shirdi Sai's status (Gurus p. 78 n. 55), if academic literacy in Satya Sai circles is ever capable of checking that far. The Satya Sai cult has contributed to serious confusions between different source materials. The abuse of the Ph.D. dissertation in misrepresenting rival investigation can be implied as a flaw at the University of Toronto, whose imprimatur is supplied in a foreword to Dr. Warren's book. Those concerned should at least be able to distinguish between Professor Eaton and Meher Baba, not to mention the conflation between Shirdi Sai and Satya Sai. The academic scene is a confused one, to say the least, and pride in credentials is not sufficient to vindicate all the errors. For instance, an improved academic familiarity with the largely unknown diary mentioned (but not cited) on p. 354 of Dr. Warren's Enigma would soon reveal that I was reporting Meher Baba's critical view of Narasimhaswami's instinct for the miraculous, an issue which may be regarded as valid for data collection and not merely an arbitrary verdict of mine. Such diaries are evidently unknown to the University of Toronto, which should perhaps extend library facilities instead of producing premature verdicts ignoring due data. Cf. Enigma, p. 24 n. 38 and p. 364 n. 40 for judgments made without inspection of the uncited diary, a procedure which not everyone would regard as scholarly. Rather grudgingly perhaps, Dr. Warren has been prepared to acknowledge that "Shepherd was the first author to question this Hindu bias" (ibid., p. 15) and that "most of his arguments concerning Sai Baba's Sufi connections are strong" (ibid.). She was not generous enough to stipulate what those arguments were, but was clearly influenced by them in the formation of Enigma, so that the University of Toronto can claim Enigma as "the first scholarly attempt to provide a historical context to Sai Baba's teachings" (ibid., p. ix). I am happy not to be regarded as a scholar in view of what that term currently signifies in cultic academe. Gurus Rediscovered was a book which dared to criticize Satya Sai Baba (Gurus, pp. 1-2, 73, 80 n. 77), and some observers say that this is why supporters of the Satya Sai cult react so strongly to components of Gurus. Both Rigopoulos and Warren have elevated Narasimhaswami above "secondary" sources, eager to bolster the miracle lore which is associated with Satya Sai.' (Pointed Observations, pp. 371-3 n. 98)

'Dabholkar's devotional work was written in Marathi verse, and published in 1929. He assimilated Sai Baba to the Hindu bhakti tradition of Maharashtra, and did not understand much about Sufism, it has been concluded. H. S. Dixit added a foreword which merits criticism for having obscured the saint's Muslim background with a divine incarnation theory. Hari Sitaram Dixit was a prominent Hindu devotee who seems to have first visited Shirdi in 1909. He was a lawyer by profession. See Dabholkar, Shri Sai Satcharita, trans. I. Kher (Delhi: Sterling Publishers Ltd, 1999). A popular adaptation in English of this work was produced by N. V. Gunaji and published in 1944. See Shri Sai Satcharita or The Wonderful Life and Teachings of Shri Sai Baba (tenth edn, Bombay: Sri Sai Baba Sansthan, 1982). Dr Warren has emphasized that, although many readers have assumed Gunaji's book to be a verbatim translation of Hemadpant, this is far from being accurate. Gunaji both omitted and added, and his additions include frequent Hinduizing interpretations from his own zealous pen. See Warren, op. cit., pp. 3ff. See also note 77 infra. Dr. Warren has criticized both Dr. Rigopoulos and myself for not using the Marathi text of Hemadpant (ibid., pp. 15, 18). I am happy to accept that particular criticism. Gurus Rediscovered was not a Ph.D. thesis, and I do not read Marathi. Dr. Warren has herself confirmed several aspects of my unconventional monograph. As for Gunaji's misleading adaptation, it made far greater sense to me to rely upon the non-Hinduizing assertions of writers like C. B. Purdom and Dr. Ghani that Sai Baba was a Muslim.' (Investigating the Sai Baba Movement, p. 168 n. 17)

For a more up-to-date analysis of Warren see the following:
'The Findings document and Dr. Marianne Warren'
'Shirdi Sai Baba and Dr. Marianne Warren’s Rejection of Sathya Sai'
'Shirdi Sai Baba and the "Sai Baba Movement"'
Simon Kidd (talk) 16:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Keep on saying you are not an obsessive promoter of Kevin R. D. Shepherd. Your long-winded posts and spamming of links to Kevin Shepherd's webpages speaks volumes about you and your agenda. And a sockpuppetry case has been filed against you [10]. Feel free to post your dissertations there. WikiUserTalk 05:02, 28 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]
WikiUserTalk, the bulk of my last post here consists of quotes from Shepherd, which I have provided at length so that future editors can make up their own minds about this issue. I have noted your recent post on DGG's talk page, and his response [11]. As seems often to be the case, your comments are largely rhetorical and require clarification. My reason for the links here (on this talk page, NOT 'talk pages' plural) is that they contain information about Warren that (to the best of my knowledge) is not available in print. Only three of the five links are to websites maintained by Shepherd. While the other two are to a website maintained by an opponent of Sathya Sai Baba, the material on the pages I have linked to is solely about Warren. All of the links are given due to their pertinence to the discussion that you opened on this page. Any reference to anyone else is incidental. As far as I am aware, the ArbCom ruling applies only to the Sathya Sai Baba page and its related talk page, not to any other talk pages. If a higher authority points out that I am mistaken in this, or if a new ruling is made, then I will remove the links myself.
I wasn't aware of the sockpuppet investigation until you brought it to my attention. I have responded in the appropriate place [12]. I would like to add, however, that the suspicions raised in comments by Rhomb [13] only reinforce suspicions that I have already voiced elsewhere [14]. Simon Kidd (talk) 07:46, 28 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]
For ease of future reference, the results of the SPI are here. Simon Kidd (talk) 16:19, 12 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Redirect to Upasani Maharaj proposed


The name of Upasani Baba Maharaj is widely spelled as "Upasani" and not as "Upasni". Even the official Upasani Baba Maharaj Sthan spells his name as "Upasani" [15]. All the books I have read also spell his name as "Upasani". WikiUserTalk 05:44, 18 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

It appears the redirect issue has already been discussed and it was decided that "Upasni Maharaj" is the spelling of choice. WikiUserTalk 14:40, 18 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Section on "Five Perfect Masters"


I deleted the section added by Danice thrall that was copied and pasted from Perfect Master (Meher Baba)#The Five Perfect Masters, an article on the teachings of Meher Baba. This is a teaching by Meher Baba, and does not belong in the Wikipedia article about Upasni Maharaj. Upasni Maharaj had very different teachings, contained in Discourses of Upasni Maharaj, available in India. Dazedbythebell (talk) 22:11, 19 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Danice, I see you have chosen to put it back here, and on three other articles. This is useful information about what Meher Baba taught. And it is in the correct place in its own page on that subject. However to put Baba's teaching on the pages of other masters, with their own disciples, of different traditions, with different teachings, is simply to proselytize. It will not last in those articles, which are meant to be on the lives and teachings of those particular masters. So "spreading Baba's message" on other articles is not going to hold up on Wikipedia. Dazedbythebell (talk) 19:02, 20 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Took out material not on topic. SaintAviator lets talk 02:44, 22 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for writing both of you, it was little bit off topic. Bladesmulti (talk) 03:50, 22 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Blade I think that entire new section is off topic. What do you think? SaintAviator lets talk 05:43, 22 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Of course it is, they are the teachings of Meher Baba, not Upasni Maharaj. Bladesmulti (talk) 06:11, 22 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Im gunna delete it. I respect Upasni too much SaintAviator lets talk 09:45, 22 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Assessment comment


The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Upasani Maharaj/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Solid start article. Could probably bear expansion. Badbilltucker 21:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Last edited at 21:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 09:42, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Removing Proposed Deletion Notice (PROD)


The PROD gave this reason: ::All references are to in-house sources of Meher-Baba-Cult .... This wrong in multiple ways. If the nominator wants further discussion, I suggest an AFD.--Nemonoman (talk) 20:37, 20 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Nemonoman, no: please explain here. There is no point taking something to AfD if you're right. - Sitush (talk) 15:06, 22 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I would like some specifics of the existence of a 'Meher-Baba-Cult', and then specifics of its 'in-house sources.' Also I am pretty familiar with the typical sources used in Meher Baba specific pages, which WBG often characterizes disparagingly with similar terms, and I will note that the Upsani article has sources I've never run across before, so they may be somebody's in-house cult sources, but I think they're not Meher Baba cult in-house sources, and I think those unique sources also deserve a review.
Also I have personally seen editorials in Indian Newspapers from the 1920s (or thereabouts) that disparage Upsani as some sort of cult-leader charlatan: a Hindu guru, who attracted many young female Parsi followers, took them in as residents and indoctrinated them in Hindu practices, and 'married' quite a few. I think these are notable external sources, and if this goes to AFD, I'll see about reference and inclusion. (These sources may have been known to but not have been included by the editors, which is a balance issue that needs addressing.)
Upasani was a notable figure of controversy, and his ashram was is a well-known place of pilgrimage, particularly for followers of Sai Baba in the 50s and 60s, when numerous Sai followers believed him and his successor to be Sai's successors. About 20 years ago, a number of Upasani's 'kanyas' -- resident nuns -- made a tour of the US, and I believe there were articles in the US paper. With this personal information, I believe I had reason to delete the PROD, and see if other editors could mutually address if it leads to an AFD.
I think the proper course here would be flagging for better / additional sources and for notability, and giving WP editors time to improve the article. But it appears that I'm in a minority: AFDs seem to be replacing 'fix' flags on Meher Baba-related articles.
Also it is worth noting that there is very little cross-over of followers of Meher Baba and followers of Upsani. Both exist in reasonable numbers, and both are independent and unrelated. Meher Baba followers have an interest, since Upsani was a major influence on Meher Baba, but they don't 'follow' or venerate Upsani; and Meher Baba is a very minor element to Upsani followers. I think there's one photo of Meher Baba in Upasani's ashram, along with hundreds of other spiritual figures that he met. So if the intent is to purge all articles related to Meher Baba, I fear that Upsani's article has been improperly caught in the crossfire.
Sitush your AFD of Lyn Ott, which I agreed with, did not include 'cult' references, nor did it disparage out of hand the sources or the article. You AFG'd the editors who created the article, and made a very admirable effort to find sources of notability beyond the items included in the article. Other editors took the lead from your generous, moderate approach, and also sought to find relevance and notability to improve the article before voting to delete. I believe that your AFD correctly reflects best practice with an AFD, and I compliment and salute you.
I contrast your work with this PROD and other Meher Baba-related AFDs. --Nemonoman (talk) 16:44, 22 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks; please search and add them. I will, too and may-be AfD after about 3 months, if am not satisfied with improvement. WBGconverse 18:55, 22 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I have searched three exhaustive databases of US based newspapers. Not an iota of mention about the subject.
I will be at the National Archives soon enough and if I can't see anything about the subject in their catalog, I will send this to AfD. WBGconverse 12:13, 26 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) I haven't got a clue what you are on about in that wall of text but you are clearly not bringing forward sources other than non-specific mentions of stuff in newspapers from a century ago which very probably will fail WP:RS. So, I'm also not understanding your de-PROD rationale, nor what you say you are contrasting with reference to me (which would be irrelevant anyway as you have just been told at another AfD closure).
Are you going to source this thing or not? Do you think the guy is notable or not? - Sitush (talk) 18:58, 22 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Kevin R D Shepherd as a source (2019)


It is significant that there are no citations of Kevin Shepherd's books in this article. In the 2010 discussion of Shepherd, DGG described his existing books as being in an ‘intermediate’ category, neither academic nor popular, but ‘considerably more acceptable than many of the other sources in the article’. Since that time, Sterling have published three books by Shepherd, two of which have chapters on Upasni Maharaj, and the third having several references to him. These are, in order of publication:

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=hLJlngEACAAJ (references on pages 26,59, 92)

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=edZkjwEACAAJ (Chapter 78)

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=OwaPuQEACAAJ (Chapter 38)

The chapter in Sai Baba of Shirdi: A Biographical Investigation is brief, but includes the following paragraph:

'Fortunately, there are sufficient sources on Upasani to determine the nature of various events. However, this is a complex undertaking in itself, and necessitates a separate work on the subject. A preliminary attempt of mine in this direction was Shepherd 1986b:83-142. A more detailed version was Shepherd 2005: Part 2. Another book is in preparation.'

Regarding Shepherd's standing as a source, with reference to academic citations, see the discussion here:


Simon Kidd (talk) 16:40, 11 October 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Another source


There is another source that does a brief biography of Upasni Maharaj's life here: Srinivas, Smriti. (2008). In the presence of Sai Baba : body, city, and memory in a global religious movement. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-474-3300-2. OCLC 719377459. at pages 40–42. It is based on Shepherd's account, but this author seemed not to have an issue with that. Kohlrabi Pickle (talk) 05:22, 15 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Just to add that while I understand the hesitation about conflicts of interest, or potential non-notability, in my view it does not make sense to exclude Shepherd as a source if his writing has been used by other academics in serious publications. There is of course the matter of undue weight, but this is as much a feature of a dearth of avenues for publication at that time. This should not mean that all sources for that time are automatically discounted, merely that we should be careful not to treat presumptions over their reliability as conclusive. Kohlrabi Pickle (talk) 05:30, 15 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Maintenance templates


Is there any particular objection to removing the notability, third party and unbalanced tags at the top of the page? Technically, the notability guideline might not be met, but on the other hand there isn't much doubt that Upasani Maharaj is notable in the ordinary sense of the word. He is well-known and revered in India, and often mentioned in relation to Shirdi Sai Baba, Meher Baba and others. Although because of the scarcity of independent sources there is a risk of neutrality or balance problems, the article in its current form seems to provide a rather modest and non-controversial account of his life and teaching. The tags seem unnecessary. Harold the Sheep (talk) 05:51, 25 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Since there has been no response, I'm going to go ahead and remove them. Harold the Sheep (talk) 05:04, 1 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]